The getaway car driver from a kidnapping and death that happened at DFW airport four years ago is going to federal prison.
Roberto Riveros admitted that he was the getaway car driver in the June 2016 abduction of Muhammad Shaikh, 41, a jewelry salesman. Shaikh was headed back to Pakistan from a series of sales calls to jewelry stores around North Texas. He was in the process of filling the gas tank of his rental car at a Shell station at the airport when he was kidnapped by a group of Columbian thieves. His body was found near the airport a short while later. Authorities say his death may have been caused from the stress of the abduction.
During a video sentencing hearing, U.S District Judge David C. Godbey expressed concern about the downward departure of the sentence in the plea agreement. Godbey noted the sentencing guidelines for the type of crime typically range from 42 years to life. “I will reluctantly accept the Government’s recommendation (for 264 months)” said Godbey.
For his part, Riveros expressed remorse for the crime. “I accept full responsibility” he told the judge. “I didn’t mean for it to happen. I was not in the vehicle where the violence happened.”
Riveros was one of five people suspected in a series of jewelry salesman robberies. Police say the group would sit outside a store, then follow the salesman as they left, targeting the sample jewelry they were carrying.
Following Shaikh’s death, Riveros was among a group that fled back to their native Colombia. He was later captured and returned to the United States to face the justice system.
The fact that the defendants were from Colombia and the victim was from Pakistan did not escape the attention of at least one federal prosecutor.
“I saw different components and pieces of this but never anything that came together in this particular way” said former U. S Attorney Matthew Orwig. It’s unique that it was a federal case because of the airport. It’s unique in that it involves an overseas victim as well as overseas perpetrators.”
Four have pleaded guilty to charges. A fifth is still awaiting trial.